Microsoft's Android patents ..
So it's a fait accompli then, Microsoft owns Android, does Google have any say in the matter?
Motorola Solutions has become the latest maker of Android and Chrome OS devices to license related patents from Microsoft, joining dozens of other companies that have entered into similar agreements with Redmond. Note, however, that we're not talking about Motorola Mobility, the Android smartphone maker that Google bought in …
Microsoft doesn’t own Android. It has some heavy lawyers who will threaten you until you sign up to some patents they claim to have - so long as you don't tell anyone what they are. You will probably sign because they wont actually charge you much - they just want to give the illusion they are still involved in mobile.
But in a couple of years no-one will be paying them for android - at some point they will have to confront Google.
But by the time they get the courage* to do that you will have a full blown linux for your phone (some of us already do) and why use crappy android apps when you have a whole enterprise level set of apps for free?
* or fall into some trap set by Google or just pick on the wrong company.
> But in a couple of years no-one will be paying them for android - at some point they will have to confront Google.
I wonder whether they started to. That would explain the big G flogging off Motorola Mobility and losing that lovely tax write-off. It would be a hard lawsuit at the moment though, since Google don't sell Android and could probably argue that they don't make money from it. Not well enough to convince a techie but well enough to convince a judge.
The OEMs though, they make devices that depend upon Android, for money. So they're straightforward targets.
This default assumption that MS are lying about their patents amuses me. Good to know that the Reg's commentards know more about the workings of Android than the companies who implement it, 99% of whom have just coughed up the money.
"This default assumption that MS are lying about their patents amuses me. Good to know that the Reg's commentards know more about the workings of Android than the companies who implement it, 99% of whom have just coughed up the money."
The assumption is that if they were legitimate Microsoft wouldn't mind people knowing what they were. I think that assumption stands up to scrutiny better than the patronising alternative: "better minds than yours have thought about this and appear to agree"
> The assumption is that if they were legitimate Microsoft wouldn't mind people knowing what they were.
But the point is that we don't know what they are, we (I use the term to encompass the majority opinion here) are simply assuming that because we don't know, they are worthless and anyone who does know and paid up quite a lot of money because they know knows less than us, which is as we agree, nothing.
That is not a defensible position, logically speaking.
(Btw, upvoted for a sensible answer rather than frothing rage).
The reason the manufacturers are paying is likely that it is cheaper and simpler to pay a couple of dollars to Microsoft for licensing unknown patents, than to try and fight them in court, which takes a lot of time and money, for a result that is uncertain.
Now, if Microsoft had tried the same kind of deal with Google-owned Motorola Mobility, they would certainly have been rebuffed. Because it is actually worth it for Google to figure out exactly what those famous patents are about, even at the risk of losing an expensive lawsuit.
Now, the fact that Microsoft did not actually sue Motorola, even though they claim that Motorola infringes their patents (since it makes Android phones), indicates that they are not sure of winning, or they don't think it's worth the trouble of a lawsuit against Google, or maybe they simply prefer to keep quiet what the famous patents are. Probably a mix of the three.
> The reason the manufacturers are paying is likely that it is cheaper and simpler to pay a couple of dollars to Microsoft for licensing unknown patents, than to try and fight them in court, which takes a lot of time and money, for a result that is uncertain.
How many Samsung phones are activated every day? Did you say "a couple of dollars"?
"pay a couple of dollars to Microsoft for licensing unknown patents"
Unknown to whom?
I predict with a high degree of certainty that those paying for these "unknown patents" know exactly what they are - they are in effect not at all "unknown" to the organisations and individuals that actually need to know about them.
"But in a couple of years no-one will be paying them for android"
What makes you think that? Many of those patents have a lot longer to run.
"at some point they will have to confront Google."
Microsoft already did, and Google has lost every battle with Microsoft so far.
"But by the time they get the courage* to do that you will have a full blown linux for your phone (some of us already do)"
For mobile, the exact same patents will mostly apply. Android is a bastardised form of Linux after all - which is a large part of why it has so many security holes and is so easy to crack / root.
>Microsoft owns Android
Hardly. The patents that are costing the Android makers are the ones for the FAT32 filesystem and all its derivatives. By owning the IP for the one pretty much universal file system even Microsoft's foes find it over a barrel as users expect interoperability. That might also explain among other reasons why Google isn't big on removable storage for its own devices.
What scam software patents are. This is a clear example of the "innovation" it's supposed to create and protect.
Ever since the first couple of Android distributors signed these extortion agreements, it has had a snowball effect. The mafia would be very proud of Microsoft.
This is among many reasons I avoid Microsoft products and services as much as possible.
To get patent protection your invention must be:
new, not known anywhere in the world prior to filing
have an inventive step, not obvious or a simple adaptation or combination of existing products
be capable of industrial application, having a technical effect
I think they need to drink their own cool aid
I take it the thumbs down was for spelling Kool-Aid incorrectly? (apologies, that brand isn't exactly a top seller in the UK) Surely the waters around El Reg cannot be infested with patent sharks... or are there simply illiterate ms fanboys in here thumbing down anything that sounds vaguely anti-ms? The above was directed at the IPO and patents in general. I won't keep you any longer, you can get back to masturbating furiously over your signed photo of clippy...
"I just wish Microsoft would deal with the issue the honorable way and sue Google"
But they have - well over a year ago: http://wmpoweruser.com/microsoft-finally-sues-google-directly-for-patent-infringement/
Google only makes limited devices using Android though - and Microsoft need to prove losses / damages to get a proportionate payout. Hence it makes sense for Microsoft to go after all manufacturers of Android devices to get the full value of their IP.
Haters (of Apple, Oracle, Microsoft etc. etc.) continually and relentlessly posit the impending demise of these companies, and do so as a truth statement, as if the demise had already occurred - as if by repetition they can make it somehow true.
Pretty fucking sad that what passes for a sentient being can be so deluded if you ask me.
Microsoft can't really sue Google for royalties on a free OS. Google makes their money on ads and Play. Google could, if it wanted, sue Microsoft for systematic interference with its business if it wanted and thought it could prevail. I'm not sure who would prevail, but it seems Google hasn't decided it wants to do that.